If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have probably cared less about oats anyway and said ‘Oats, No way!’
Oddly enough today, it is almost involuntarily that I reach out to the box of oats every morning for my breakfast. Place it in the middle of the so-called breakfast cereal of the masses – Honey bunch of oats, Cinnamon toast crunch or even a slightly elitist Kashi Go lean crunch to entice me and I’ll probably still choose oats any day. As for me, oats takes the guesswork out of conjuring up a healthy breakfast everyday.
But, wait a minute, I wasn’t quite talking about ‘instant’.
Maple and brown sugar, cinnamon and spice, apple and cinnamon, countless varieties of flavored instant oatmeal stacked up on the breakfast cereal aisle might beckon you to pick them up. Or your mornings are so rushed you invariably convince yourself to prefer ‘instant’. Or from the last time you tried, your taste buds labeled it so bland and unpalatable that you don’t even like the thought of it, let alone eat it again. Fair enough as the reasons are perfectly understandable.
Given a choice, would you still choose the ‘instant’ knowing that the real difference lies not in the time saved but in the vindication that you can make your own healthy breakfast at your very home in a short time and you decide every single ingredient that goes in. Isn’t it the kind of control we all yearn for every once in a while?
My point is, healthy does not have to be boring nor does it have to mean tasteless. Just a sprinkle of nature’s bounty can add a touch of magic to the unpretentious oatmeal. Simple things in life are natural and when old-fashioned oatmeal is dressed up with the goodness of nature’s simple ingredients, its natural virtue entwined with their deliciousness beats that cold cereal black and blue.
You must have heard of the new saying “A bowl of Oatmeal a day keeps cholesterol at bay”.
Guess it holds good only as long as you eat a nutritious one. And the reason why old-fashioned oats is good for you is the same as why whole wheat flour is better than all-purpose flour. It is whole grain, unprocessed, has no fiber stripped off and makes for a hearty filling breakfast. Combine it with some protein and some good fat and voila! you have a complete food while lowering its glycemic index too. Its high content of complex carbohydrates stabilizes blood-glucose levels and the good part is, it has enough water-soluble fiber, so you won’t need to reach out for Miralax, if you know what I mean.
Did you know that athletes and body builders swear by this super food? When its coming from those who take their body seriously, we can definitely learn a thing or two to keep ours well.
If you wish to take it a step forward, then it is steel-cut oats for you. Steel cut oats are just like their name suggests, whole grain oat groats cut into two-three pieces rather than being rolled unlike the old-fashioned oats. That peak I am yet to conquer but, someday I am sure I will.
I didn’t mean it to be a health-scribe, but guess I just couldn’t help it after all!
Disclaimer: Read the next few lines only if you are a new mommy
Among the breastfeeding circle, a bowl of Oatmeal for breakfast is believed to be good for increasing the milk supply. Though I do not know how much of science is behind this, I have certainly heard many-a-mamas vouch for this galactagogue* as a no-fail home remedy. It sure can’t hurt to try, it’s oatmeal for heaven sakes, there are no side effects.
Well, well, what do you know about this modest cereal!
*An agent that promotes the secretion and flow of milk
Things you’ll need:
- 1/2 cup Old fashioned oats (I use Quaker oats)
- 1/4 cup frozen / fresh blueberries
- half a handful raisins
- 8-10 walnut halves, broken into smaller pieces
- dash of ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup Non fat milk
- a drizzle of honey (optional, I do not use it)
- 1 scoop whey protein powder (optional, for those of you seriously working out)
How it’s done:
- Bring a cup of water to a boil in a thick bottomed saucepan. Add oats and let cook for about 5-8 mins until most of the water is absorbed. switch off, cover and let cook in its own steam until fully cooked and soft.
Or microwave the oats with 3/4 – 1 cup water for 2 1/2 mins in a large enough microwavable ceramic or glass bowl. Keep a close watch after 2 mins, it can bubble up and spill out if left unnoticed. Just pause the microwave for 15-20 sec, start again and it should finish cooking without spilling out.
- Pour the milk, sprinkle some cinnamon, fold in the blueberries, walnut pieces, raisins and the optional items.
- Mix and slurp away to breakfast heaven when warm.
Other variations which also go very well:
Choose from these options to mix and match as per your taste.
- 7-8 almonds crushed in a mortar
- 8-10 pecans torn into smaller bits
- 2-3 chopped dates
- 4-5 chopped prunes
- 3-4 chopped figs
- 1/2 banana sliced
- 8-10 frozen or fresh dark cherries
- 1-2 tsp cane sugar
- drizzle of maple syrup
- a pinch of powdered cardamom (about 2 pods)
- a pinch of grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp ground raw flax seeds
- 1 tsp of goji berries
- 1 tsp ground raw sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp ground raw pumpkin seeds